While there's no cure for nummular dermatitis, there are several ways to treat and control its symptoms. Once an outbreak occurs, prescription-strength cortisone ointments can be applied to the area to help heal the skin and soothe the itchiness. Coal tar ointments may also be recommended because coal tar reduces inflammation, scaling and itching [source: New Zealand Dermatological Society]. In severe cases, doses of cortisone may be taken, or phototherapy -- ultraviolet light treatment -- may be used [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. These treatments can help heal nummular dermatitis outbreaks; however, lesions on the legs -- especially below the knees -- may take longer to heal and are more likely to scar [source: American Academy of Dermatology].
But there's good news for people with nummular dermatitis: Simple preventive measures may be the key to avoiding future outbreaks. Extremely dry skin is often a trigger, so it's important to hydrate the skin using concentrated moisturizers or lotions. Limit your showers to one five-minute shower a day and don't use extremely hot water because this can dry out the skin [source: Mayo Clinic]. Use a humidifier in your home to keep moisture in the air. And wear loose-fitting cotton clothing washed in unscented detergents to avoid unnecessary skin irritation [source: American Osteopathic College of Dermatology].
To read more about dermatitis, check out the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Academy of Dermatology. "Nummular dermatitis." EczemaNet. December 12, 2006. (Accessed August 3, 2009)http://www.skincarephysicians.com/eczemanet/nummular_dermatitis.html
- American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. "Nummular Eczema." Dermatologic Disease Database. (Accessed August 3, 2009)http://www.aocd.org/skin/dermatologic_diseases/nummular_eczema.html
- Mayo Clinic. "Dermatitis." (Accessed August 4, 2009)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dermatitis-eczema/DS00339
- MedicineNet. "Definition of Nummular eczema." (Accessed August 4, 2009)http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=9602
- Miller, Jami L. "Nummular Dermatitis." (Accessed August 3, 2009)http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1123605-overview
- New Zealand Dermatological Society "Coal Tar" June 2009. (Accessed August 26, 2009) http://dermnetnz.org/treatments/coaltar.html